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Old 05-26-2005, 06:08 AM   #1
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What Is The Meaning Of I386,i686 And Where I Can Find This Information

Old 05-26-2005, 06:54 AM   #2
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i386 is the commonly used name for the 80386 processor family
i686 is the commonly used name for the later family range of processors, up to todays processors (e.g. the ones ranging from 450Mhz ~ 3.6Ghz)
x86 is a grouping name for all Intel processors and compatibles.

This is my best swing at it, you can probably find something that describes it better with Google.
So I assume for now you saw these terms on a linux distribution or a software package somewhere?
For Linux distros it is often used as an indication as to what kind of system it supports, For example if you took a current Mandrake release it would be listed as Mandriva10.2-i586.etc.iso when you go and download the ISO image for example, the i586 in there means it is intended to run on an i586 system, which sports an Intel Pentium class processor (or compatible). if you would take an i586 designed distro and tried to install it onto a system with an 80486 (i486, non-Pentium) processor, it would likely fail because it is not designed to run on that hardware platform.
Old 05-26-2005, 07:12 AM   #3
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If you want to see your processor's info just type: "cat /proc/cpuinfo". For example:

% cat /proc/cpuinfo
processor : 0
vendor_id : GenuineIntel
cpu family : 6
model : 5
model name : Pentium II (Deschutes)
stepping : 2
cpu MHz : 400.913520
cache size : 512 KB
fdiv_bug : no
hlt_bug : no
sep_bug : no
f00f_bug : no
coma_bug : no
fpu : yes
fpu_exception : yes
cpuid level : 2
wp : yes
flags : fpu vme de pse tsc msr pae mce cx8 apic sep
mtrr pge mca cmov pat pse36 mmx fxsr
bogomips : 399.77

The following has been taken (and modified) from debian's website:

kernel i686 -> Pentium Pro/Celeron/Pentium II/Pentium III/Pentium IV
kernel i586 -> Pentium-Classic
kernel i386 -> 386/486
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Old 05-26-2005, 11:39 AM   #4
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You could also search LQ, this is asked many times by various people. And please do not type in all capitals, it is seen as shouting and is deemed rude.


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